Doc Hastings' Secret Legislation

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On January 24, 2011, Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee said in a press release, “People have a right to see and hear what their Congress is debating.”

This pledge clearly doesn’t mean legislation he’s working on, according to a report from Politico out tonight:

Got mail? If you were working on Rep. Doc Hastings’s offshore drilling bills, probably not.

The House Natural Resources Committee chairman and his staff wanted to keep the details of his three offshore drilling measures off-limits, even to other Republicans on the committee, so they decided to keep emails to a minimum.

He would barely share plans with other Republicans and he wouldn’t discuss his plans with Democrats at all, but as the story says, Rep. Hastings “held a closed-door, invitation-only meeting with top energy lobbyists, including representatives from Chevron, Patton Boggs and about a dozen others.”

In the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Hastings received $89,671 in campaign cash from the PACs and employees of the oil and gas industry, seven times more than he got from the same industry in 2008. Exxon, Chevron, and Marathon Oil are just a few of the special interest donors that filled Rep. Hastings campaign coffers in 2010. During his time in Congress, he has received $155,804 in campaign cash from the industry. He’s received more than $487,000 from the entire energy and natural resources industry over the years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Rep. Hastings isn't the first House Chairman to hold secret meetings with lobbyists in the 112th Congress. In January, aides for Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, "met in a closed-door session...with energy industry interests to work on strategy to handcuff the Obama administration’s climate change agenda."

Rep. Hastings is no stranger to controversy. As chair of the House Ethics Committee in 2005, he refused to schedule hearings to investigate disgraced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and in 2000, he accepted a trip to England paid for by a "company he championed for a multibillion-dollar contract."